Part of being an author is critiquing. I critique my own work and because I am friends with other authors, I critique other authors’ work. Recently I had the pleasure of reading an early edit of a friend’s manuscript.
As authors and editors we are constantly looking at the craft of writing. Are we following the rules for good books? Is our punctuation right? When we break the rules are we doing it in a way that makes our book better? Do are characters have a good have a character arc? Does the time line work?
Deadlines, Energy and Focus are all connected for me. When I come up against a deadline it increases my energy and focus to finish and made that deadline. Focus has been difficult for me lately because of life is getting in the way of what I have been trying to get done.
The pressure of a deadline gives me energy and that increases my focus. The deadline for the edits on my manuscript is coming up fast. And I am excited to see my focus is improving so I can get more editing completed. It is important do to what is necessary to find the focus necessary to do a good job on anything.
I’m often asked when I am writing and editing whether or not deadlines help me. And the answer for me is yes, they do. In my blog on Saturday, I talked about Dawdling and Deadlines. I have a tendency to dawdle when I don’t have a deadline.
Deadlines give me energy and help my focus. That energy gives me the drive to get my work done, regardless what part of my life I am talking about. My problem is there is a thin line between counting on the energy and deadline to get a job done and the time things actually take to get done.
I know people who have deadlines they have completed that are days and weeks away. Some days I wish I was one of them, but I’m not. I don’t feel like I dawdle because I am constantly working on things. But it seems like I am always having to push at the last minute to get the project completed.
Right now, I am working on the edits for my manuscript and despite working on it every day, I still feel like I am running behind. I am determined to get this edit done on time. Therefore, no more dawdling by writing blogs. Time to work on edits so I will meet my deadline.
When I tell people about the book I am writing, they frequently ask how long I have been working on it. I hate to say it, but the answer is around fifteen years. That seems like a very long time.
Now, that seems like a really long time, but the truth is that is not the only thing I was doing during that time. Ignoring all the time I spent on life—family, day-job, health, housekeeping, etc.—I also wrote six other novels which are in various stages of editing so I can submit them. But what I want to talk about here is the work on this specific book.
Editing my manuscript can get discouraging. My wonderful editor found a lot of things I need to review and consider. Note, I don’t have to change everything, but I do have to consider quite a lot. Just glancing at the manuscript is enough to make me run and hide.
However, I have found a way to keep working. My editor color-coded all the things I need to consider making some pages quite colorful.
Now I am a person who loves to watch bubbles floating through the air. When I look at a page with a lot of color, I am mentally turning them into bubbles and watch them float over the page.
I decided on this year’s A to Z Challenge, I would write about my writing journey getting my manuscript ready to be published. I have passed the hurdles of writing and having my book accepted for publication by the Prism Book Group. I am now in the process of editing the book.
One would think I am annoyed by all the things the editor told me to change. But I am not. I am annoyed because I keep running into things I did wrong. And I know I did them wrong. It is a perfect example of the fact it is almost impossible for an author to edit her own work.
Today we drove across the northern Cascades on our way from a family wedding to catch an airplane in Seattle heading for the Write To Publish Conference. We drove through an area recently devastated by a landslide. Lives had been lost and many homes destroyed. I had seen it on the news, but those pictures didn’t come close what I saw today. The emotional response as we drove was much stronger. One interesting thing I saw was new sprouts and leaves on stumps of trees which had been broken in the landslide. This sight actually brought feelings of hope.
I’m trying to get back on track today because last week I didn’t keep my commitment to you, my readers. I was so tired from the conference; I didn’t accomplish much during the past week. That being said, this week I’m have to get my act together because I leave again in a few days—first for a wedding in Washington State followed by teaching and taking pitches at the Write To Publish conference in Chicago.
I made it home from the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. After four days of total adrenalin, I came home by way of a Rockies baseball game and an AWANA year-end awards program. As an introvert, the past few days have been a total drain on my energy, but it was totally worth it. Why do I put myself through all the stress of such event?
First, this particular conference is a time of renewal.